Oct. 28, 2014

Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate

EB 162

Meeting called to order:  2:04

President Lugo presiding

Quorum confirmed

 

Special order of the day:  to complete consideration of the revisions to the Policies of Academic Freedom and Tenure (hereafter, the Policies) suggested by AA

I.        There is a good chance that our work can be completed today, after which there will be an opportunity to review motions from our last meeting on the Policies according to Robert�s Rules.  A past decision can be reviewed only if a motion for reconsideration is made by someone who voted originally in the majority.  The honor system is in place on this issue.  The final package will be voted at the next regular meeting of the Faculty Senate in November.

II.      Elections for Senate President will be held in December.  Individuals interested and willing to be considered should contact President Lugo.

 

 

III.    (From page 8, Article IV, C, iv, last paragraph)  MO8:  Accept change as edited.  The vote will be with respect to the text shown in red, regarding consideration of unsolicited information about an applicant�s candidacy for RPT.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Move to accept the revisions, as per General Counsel

2.       Necessity of the final statement was questioned, given that the first sentence of the paragraph requires that unsolicited information be disregarded

3.       John Scherer explained that we have had problems with individuals receiving information outside of the dossier process, which has then been used to evaluate the candidate.  The statement means that no one should gather or accept information outside of the process.  However, if information is learned about violations of University policy (e.g., fabrication of dossier information, violation of research integrity issues), individuals still have an obligation to follow University policies regarding those violations.  This is separate from evaluation of the dossier.  There is language in the Faculty Handbook on such issues, but it never hurts to repeat it.

4.       Motion to accept the revisions was seconded.

B.      The vote is called.  A vote �Yes� would mean that we�re accepting the revised language from General Counsel.  The vote is 47 in favor, 2 against.  The revisions are accepted.

 

IV.    (From page 8, Article IV, C, vi and vii)  MO 9:  Accept changes in wording from �recommends� to �decides� throughout this section.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points by AA:

a.       Provost Battles � We went through and analyzed the steps, changing the language to �decides� whenever the individual is the final authority.  Whenever the individual would be passing things along, we specified �recommend.�

b.      Provost Battles � the current wording in the same section of the Faculty Handbook now says that if the Provost recommends reappointment, this is forwarded to the Chancellor, but if the Provost recommends nonreappointment, that is reported and is final.  So it seems that �decide� is appropriate, reflecting the final word/final authority.  I invite you all to look and check us on this, but that ws the protocol in changing the phrasing from �recommend.�

c.       John Scherer � the appeal process is triggered by the final authority.

2.       Main points by Senators:

a.       The revision includes no caveats and so implies that the Provost can decide an outcome regardless of previous votes of the department, Chair, and Dean.  The BOT actually decides.  Everything else is a recommendation.

b.      When the RPT Committee drafted this document, it was based on advice from Counsel that these are always recommendations.  Did we get this wrong?

c.       Whatever is decided on this issue, we�ll need to consider Article VI as well, because of reference to decisions at various levels.  This section will need to be consistent with the Hearings Procedures, as currently written.

d.      If the Provost�s Office says �No� to a reappointment, is that a decision that materially changes the chances of success?  Junior faculty need to understand what happens as their consideration advances.

e.      Three different scenarios are described in this section.  It feels unclear.

f.        We do need an answer to this.  The probationary period is prior to tenure.  If the Provost says �No�, the individual needs to explore the appeal process as explained in the Code.

g.       A nonreappointment decision can be appealed only under very specific conditions.  It�s not the case that if the Provost says �No,� an appeal can necessarily go to Hearings.  Very specific documentation would be required (e.g., showing irregularity in process).  So this statement doesn�t handle everything.  It�s not clear why the process should ever stop with the Provost.  The language doesn�t specify that the process stops only after two strikes.  It says the Provost decides.

h.      We also have earlier language about the Dean deciding, referring to the Dean�s decision as final.  This would trigger the ability of the individual to go to Hearings.

i.        A series of questions followed regarding intent, whether the wording change represents a change in process, and whether the language applied to reappointment only, or also to tenure and promotion.

B.      President Lugo suggested that a reconsideration would be necessary to straighten out these questions, and that a subcommittee be appointed to take a careful look at the language.  There were no objections, and it was suggested that the subcommittee consider adding a flow chart (somewhere � e.g., Faculty Handbook or the web site), to help clarify the exact steps in the process.

 

V.      (From page 11, Article VI)  MO 10:  Motion:  Change reference to �Non-Reappointment� throughout Article VI to �Negative decisions regarding reappointment, tenure, and promotion.�  Note:  Passing this motion would require changes to the charge of the Hearings Committee.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points by AA:

a.       Provost Battles � The worry here is that faculty with negative outcomes in tenure or promotion can�t find language on how to appeal.  We�d like the pathway to be clear.  Right now the language specifies only nonreappointment. 

b.      John Scherer � In a legal context, the bases for permissible grounds of appeal would be the same for reappointment (as for tenure and promotion; e.g., discrimination, personal malice, material procedural irregularities).  If we expand the bases, we�d have to be sure to consistent with the UNC Code.  At Charlotte, nonreappointment has been considered under the same umbrella as non-tenure.

c.       Provost Battles � It�s been suggested to me that folks could use the grievance process.  We�d like to have a committee other than the grievance committee that could act on this, because grievance has a negative connotation, and our grievance policy doesn�t speak to nontenure or nonpromotion directly.

2.   Main points by Senators:

d.      Denial of promotion may not be the same as denial of reappointment.  Voting from this change might not cover all of our bases.

e.      Don�t we have a Section VII, a separate section for denials of promotion?

f.        Could it be a step forward to accept this because it provides a way for faculty to appeal?  Decisions about bases for appeal could be decided later.  Currently there is no visible recourse.

B.      The vote is called, with the understanding that additional refinements will be needed.  The vote is 43 in favor, 5 against, so the motion to amend passes.

 

 

VI.    (From page 15, Article VII, c)  MO 11:  To include post-tenure review decisions in the RPT Committee.

A.  Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points by AA:

a.       Provost Battles � The language here is what�s currently written.  We were posing the question about which committee should consider appeals.

2.       Main points by Senators:

a.       The current procedure is to work through the Professional Relations Committee if the faculty member and the Chair/Dean can�t reach a resolution in steps to remediating deficiencies.  If the deficiencies are corrected, then the appeal of dismissal goes to the Hearings Committee.  I think the current system is wise, and appropriately handles issues at two different levels.

b.      A vote will answer the question.  Yes � we should; no- we shouldn�t.

c.       If there is a lack of process, we do need to reconsider.  But there isn�t � if dismissed, it�s the Hearings Committee.  A vote �No� means that we�re happy with the current process in place.

B. The vote is called.  There were 13 votes in favor, 33 against.  The current language remains.

 

VII.  (From page 21, Article XII, iv)  MO 12:  Remove reference to �normal retirement age� and refer instead to Policy 300.7 of the UNC Policy Manual.

A. Summary of discussion - There is no such thing as �normal retirement age.�

B.      The vote is called.  There were 45 votes in favor of the motion, and 0 votes against.  The motion to amend passes.

 

 

Final announcements:

1.       From President Lugo:  There will be an appeal to the Search Committee to listen to the voice of the faculty, and have a hybrid search for the final three candidates for Chancellor.  President Lugo requests that at least 50 faculty members attend the BOT meeting to show our presence and indicate that this is what we want.  There will be repercussions from events in Chapel Hill, and the BOG is beginning to question why they don�t have a larger say in the selection of Chancellors.  They want further influence.  We need to try to pull in the other direction, and can have authority by our presence.  The appeal is for men to wear a tie, to show respect.  The BOT doesn�t make the decision about the search process, but they are influential.

2.       From Diana Ashe � Our Faculty Assembly Representatives will be sharing updates on what is happening with the faculty at the UNC system level in this room, tomorrow (10/29) from 1-2 p.m.  It�s important to know what�s going on more broadly.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:17.